Vaccine dearth grips eastern districts

MORANG

Dec 11, 2014-

An acute shortage of essential vaccines has been felt in eastern districts over the past two months. The districts have run out of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the vaccine against Tuberculosis supposed to be administered to an infant within 15 days of birth, as well as Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine administered within a year after birth.

According to Chandrakanta Thakur, vaccine administration supervisor at Eastern Regional Medical Store in Biratnagar, the Logistics Management Division (LMD) under the Department of Health Services had failed to supply the vaccines. “We have been compelled to return people coming in to get their children vaccinated in 333 vaccine centres located around the district,” said Utsav Pokhrel, information officer at Morang District Public Health Office. Approximately, 4,000 vials of both vaccines are needed per month for 16 districts in the eastern region.

Meanwhile, Badebabu Thapa, chief at the vaccine distribution department of the LMD, admitted that the shortage was spurred due to their failure to supply the vaccines. According to Thapa, the LMD had run out of its stock of BCG and MMR vaccines. He said the shortage was caused due to delay in the purchase of the drugs. He said some legal hurdles in the Public Procurement Act along with low production of the vaccines in the international market and its price hike led to the delay.

However, Thapa said they were doing their best to procure the vaccines as soon as possible. “Taking into consideration the delay in purchase procedure, we have taken steps to procure the medicines with assistance from international agencies,” Thapa said.

Published: 12-12-2014 10:35

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